When it’s cool outside, a good chili recipe slow cooking in a cast iron dutch oven near the campfire is the perfect way to spend the evening at your campsite.
Whether you’ve got some ground venison from your last hunt or just bought some ground beef from the grocery store (remember, coarse ground makes all the difference), this recipe does the trick to keep everybody warm.
If you want to make your chili hotter or milder, just adjust the amount of jalapeno or cayenne pepper you’re using. Leaving the seeds in the jalapenos will amp up the heat too.
Although I’m a Texan, I put beans in my chili. I’m more interested in flavor than what I’m told I’m supposed to do, and I like beans.
This makes some of the purists cry, but sacrifices have to be made.
If you want “Texas Style” chili, or are worried about causing a riot, just leave the beans out. The rest of the recipe can stay the same.
If you really want to do it up right, and have an extra cast iron dutch oven laying around, make this simple pinto beans recipe and serve it on the side.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Serves: 8
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 jalapenos, chopped (add more or less, depending on how hot you like it)
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 pounds coarse ground beef
- 2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 can of beer (or water)
Extra Equipment Needed at the Campsite:
- 12″ Cast Iron Dutch Oven (Deep) (plus any additional accessories you like to use)
- Charcoal (unless you’re using wood)
- Small shovel or long bbq tongs (for moving hot coals around)
- Wooden spoon for stirring (Nylon works too. Just don’t use metal, it’ll scratch the seasoning on your dutch oven)
- Ladle for serving
- Can Opener
- Bowls and spoons
Before You Leave Home
Chop your red onion, red bell pepper, and jalapenos and toss into a resealable bag. Remember to chop up the bell pepper and onion as fine as you can. The goal is for them to be pretty much dissolved by the time you’re done cooking.
Finely mince the garlic and put into a separate bag.
All of your vegetables can be frozen prior to heading out on your trip. Just be sure you give them enough time at the campsite to thaw out.
Toss all of your spices into a single resealable bag.
Making Your Dutch Oven Chili
Set up your dutch oven for frying with 18 briquettes underneath.
Once your dutch oven is good and hot, pour in your cooking oil. You’ll know its ready when it shimmers.
Add your onion, bell pepper, jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt. Fry until the bell peppers and jalapenos are soft and the onions are starting to become translucent.
Toss in the beef and garlic and cook until the beef is browned. Be certain to break the beef up well with your wooden spoon.
Throw in the kidney beans, diced tomatoes (along with the juice), tomato paste and beer (or water).
Cover up your chili and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir only every ten minutes or so, and try to do it fairly quick. Other than that, don’t open the lid and peek. Remember that every time you take the lid off, you’re letting trapped heat escape, making it take much longer to cook.
Also, don’t forget to keep your coals hot. You only need about 10-12 going while your chili is simmering, instead of the 18 you used initially for frying.
Once you’ve let it cook for 45 minutes, take the lid off and let it simmer for about an hour. This will let some of the liquid evaporate and cause the chili to thicken up.
Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
I like to serve mine up with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and regular Fritos (crusty bread, cornbread or crackers are just fine instead of Fritos). Diced onions or chives also make a good addition.
That’s it. It’s not fancy, but I guarantee it’ll be a hit.
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion - finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper - finely chopped
- 2 jalapenos - finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tbs ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 garlic cloves - minced
- 2 lbs coarse ground beef
- 2 15 oz cans dark red kidney beans
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 can beer (or water)
- 12" deep cast iron dutch oven
- Small shovel or long bbq tongs
- Wooden spoon
- Can opener
- Bowls and spoons
Chop red onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Put into resealable plastic bag.
Chop garlic. Put into separate plastic bag.
Put all spices into a separate plastic bag.
Set up dutch oven for frying (18 briquettes)
Add oil after dutch oven is hot.
Add onion, bell pepper, jalapenos, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and salt. Fry until the bell peppers and jalapenos are soft and onions are starting to become translucent.
Add ground beef and garlic and cook until the beef is browned, breaking the beef up with spoon.
Add kidney beans, diced tomatoes (and juice), tomato paste and beer (or water).
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes (maintaining 10-12 briquettes underneath)
Uncover and simmer for about 1 hour.
Salt and pepper to taste.